Human Rights, Gender and Alterity

Next edition will take place in summer 2021 (TBC).

Joint Summer School between the University of Geneva and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies – Geneva.

In 2018 the second edition of the Summer School “Human rights, Gender and Alterity” will take place in Geneva. This unique transdisciplinary course is aimed at students and practitioners from all academic backgrounds and will enable participants to critically engage with human rights from a gender and a decolonial perspective.

The innovative concept combines visits to international organisations in Geneva, namely the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), attending sessions of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and presentations by internationally renowned experts working in the area of human rights with an introduction to the academic field of human rights, gender and alterity.

Topics to be covered include: violence against women, human rights and decolonial approaches to justice, freedom and emancipation, the new international division of labour and migration, global reproductive rights, and Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity rights (SOGI). These will be addressed using diverse theoretical perspectives including feminist legal theories, gender and post- and decolonial theories, and theoretical approaches to antidiscrimination law.

Students will have the opportunity not only to explore highly topical issues with human rights experts and academics in thematic seminars, but also to actively apply and deepen their knowledge in practical exercises. First, students will participate in a Moot Court simulating an individual communications procedure before the CEDAW Committee and, second, they will present a case study on an example of legislation or legal practice they have chosen.

This Summer School is organised in cooperation with FRI Swiss institute for feminist legal studies and gender law, Service Agenda 21 - Ville durable of the Ville de Genève, Bureau de l'égalité entre femmes et hommes et de prévention des violences domestiques of the République et canton de Genève, Equal Opportunities Office of the University of Geneva and the Festival du Film et Forum International sur les Droits Humains.

Target Audience

This summer school is aimed at students and practitioners from various backgrounds who wish to analyse and reconstruct sources of international human rights instruments from aperspective of social sciences, namely gender and postcolonial studies, thereby exploring new ways of engaging with international law and practice in order to contribute to a society whereequality and absence of discrimination are a reality.

Evaluation and Credits

Participants are evaluated on the basis of the participation in a Moot Court and the individual presentation of a case study. Equivalence of 6 ECTS.

Students will be provided with a Certificate of Completion for their course if they satisfy attendance.

Please note that this is not an official University of Geneva transcript, as Geneva Summer Schools courses are not accredited University of Geneva courses. It is the students’ responsibility to validate their course for credit at their home university before commencing the summer school, as specified in our Regulations.

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Early Bird Deadline :

1,600 CHF*

Final Deadline :

1,900 CHF*

Special price for UNIGE and Graduate Institute Geneva students:

600 CHF* (students will be notified of the result in May).

*Including 100 CHF non refundable administrative fees

Course Directors:

Prof. Michelle Cottier

Faculty of Law
University of Geneva

Michelle Cottier is Full Professor at the Faculty of law of the University of Geneva. Her fields of specialization include family law (especially child law), comparative law, sociology of law, interdisciplinarity in law, and the study of gender, sexuality and law.

Her first book has analyzed the gendered nature of the image of the child in child protection and juvenile penal law (Cottier 2006). She is also the co-author of the first comprehensive introduction to the field of legal gender studies in Switzerland (Büchler and Cottier 2012). She is editor-in-chief of the German Journal of Law and Society and co-editor of the only Swiss journal specialized in family law “La pratique du droit de la famille”.

Michelle Cottier is a member of the board of directors and one of the managers of the cluster on children and youth politics at the Swiss Centre of Expertise in Human Rights and a member of the board of directors at the Centre d'étude, de technique et d'évaluation législatives (CETEL) at the University of Geneva.

Formerly she has been an Assistant Professor at the University of Basel, a Visiting Professor at Humboldt University in Berlin and a Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School as well as at the Universities of Kent, Cardiff and Keele.

Prof. Marylène Lieber

Institute for Gender Studies
University of Geneva

Marylène Lieber is an Associate Professor at the University of Geneva. Sociologist, her work has focused on gender violence in public places, Chinese migration – with a particular focus on Chinese sex workers in Paris –, and more recently on Corporate social responsibility, with a research project on soft governance in the electronics industry in China.

Dr. Christine Verschuur

Senior Lecturer
Anthropology and Sociology and Gender Centre - Graduate Institute Geneva

Download CV

Programme Coordinator

Ferdinando Miranda
Equal Opportunities Office
University of Geneva

Programme Assistant

Carolina Topini
PhD Student
Institute for Gender Studies
University of Geneva

(Main contact)

Programme Assistant

Yali Chen

PhD Student
Institute for Gender Studies
University of Geneva

Student Assistant

Maria Clara Hijano
Ms candidate in Development Studies
Graduate Institute Geneva


Download the list of faculty as pdf

Gulnara Hasanova, Azerbaijan, Human Rights, Gender and Alterity Summer School 2018

We had inspiring and motivating lectures led by outstanding personalities...

The course on Human Rights, Gender and Alterity was beneficial for me in terms of delivered information and quality of classes. We had inspiring and motivating lectures led by outstanding personalities. We were granted an opportunity to practice acquired knowledge during simulations in Moot Court and pay a visit to the UN HQ for a CEDAW session. I joined GSS with only few questions in mind, but the number of questions doubled following the course and I am now planning to dig further into gender related issues and learn more about approaches to women empowerment.